The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Hope underground

We live into our dark days, sure of new life to come

The bulbs came in the mail, tucked in bags of peat moss. A new homeowner and novice gardener, I had dreams of a splendid spring garden--dancing with freesia, galanthus and tulips. But it was fall now, and spring was a long time away.

In the yard, I kneeled and made small holes in the soil. I reached for a tulip bulb and was surprised by its weightiness. Its flaky wrapping covered the bulb's firm flesh. A little shoot near the top confirmed what I knew--the making of a flower was within the bulb. Here was life, even though it would hide underground for months.

When I'd finished depositing all the bulbs into the holes, I was mildly disappointed. The yard looked unchanged. I had planted shrubs and annuals before. What a difference those make! But my eyes saw my yard with its same beds and contours. Nothing had been transformed.

Or had it? By putting the bulbs in the ground, I was declaring my hope in another season of discovery. We Christians hope all the time. We build churches for use by future congregations. We baptize our children. We marry, and we watch our children marry. We save for retirement, hoping we will live to enjoy it.

The world turns colder and sooner dark at autumn's end. It's easy to imagine we are trapped in these days. But as believers, we are freed to look ahead to new life in Christ. Like bulbs nestled into the ground, our hope waits and grows. Its flowers are everlasting.


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